Thursday, January 07, 2021

The Case of the Missing Marquess

Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Missing Marquess
August 4, 2020, Philomel Books (Originally published 2006)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Enola Holmes is let to run a bit wild by her mother on the Ferndell Estate. She wears old clothes left behind by her much older brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, rides a bicycle, and thumbs her nose at many of the practices of genteel women of her day. When her mother goes missing, she sends a telegram to her brothers, who expect her to "meet" them at the train station. They are very surprised that she does not come with a carriage (which they have been funding), and find that just about all of the financial line items for which their mother has been requesting funds are fraudulent. It is assumed that she has  been amassing money with the purpose of running away, but Enola doesn't like to think that her  mother would have abandoned her on her birthday! She does find some clues in the form of ciphers that lead her to use her skills involving the language of flowers that she has learned from her mother. Her brothers just want to stick Enola in a boarding school and be done with her, but she has other plans. She "disguises" herself as a widow in the clothes her mother wore ten years ago when Enola's father died and starts to run away. She comes across another mystery-- a local boy, the young Viscount Tewksbury Basilwether. She is persuaded by his mother to try to find him, and realizes that the boy hasn't been kidnapped, but has simply run away from his infantilizing mother. Someone, however, is demanding a ransom, and Enola aims to find out why. Will her detecting skills be as good as her brother's? There are five more books in this series, so it will take her some time to locate her missing mother. 
Strengths: Springer does an extraordinary job at preserving the style of  Conan Doyle, and also, to a lesser degree, the 1920s mystery writers like Christie, Sayers and Patricia Wentworth. She manages to work in so much cultural history as well; things like clothing, behavioral expectations, societal conventions. It's fun to see Mycroft and Sherlock both portrayed as uncaring in the same way; usually the brothers are painted as very different characters. Holmes has quite the hold on the popular imagination, still, so it is fun to see a sister imagined for him. 
Weaknesses: Neither mystery was very engaging. Tewksbury is rather bratty, and the mother wasn't exactly warm and caring. I might have to watch the Netflix series to see if it is different. 
What I really think: My copy of the first volume is missing, and I am distraught, since I have the rest of the series. It hasn't circulated well, even though I love Springer's work. However, there is a new Netlflix series, so maybe a prebind with the Netflix tie in will circulate?

Ms. Yingling


  1. Should you engage Enola, Sherlock or Mycroft to find your missing first volume?

  2. I really enjoyed Millie Bobby Brown in the Netflix movie.